Toughie No 2049 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **
There’s nought to rattle the thoroughbreds here today and, to be honest, the puzzle won’t last long in the memory. I’m not sure that I understand 26a – it seems to be a subtractive anagram (as discussed yesterday) but I can’t see the need for an anagram at all. There is a mini-theme based on some of the marches composed by 1a. Thanks to Firefly.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Heather, holding firm, put back man behind bars (4,6)
ERIC COATES: it’s not ‘ling’ so it must be Crosswordland’s other favourite heather. Insert the abbreviation for a firm in it and append the reversal of a verb to put. The answer is a man responsible for (musical) bars.
6a Buffet we enjoyed, including sweet (4)
9a Theatre roof’s western section’s not original (5)
REPRO: stick together the abbreviation for a type of theatre involving frequent changes to the programme and the left half of ‘roof’.
10a Sleek tram travels and turns at Aviemore? (9)
TELEMARKS: an anagram (travels) of SLEEK TRAM. Aviemore is an example of a ski resort.
12a Hospital in cobbled street, in which staunch business will produce film (3,3,7)
THE DAM BUSTERS: insert the abbreviation for hospital into an anagram (cobbled, excellent!) of STREET which also contains a verb to staunch or block and an abbreviation for business. Here’s the famous theme to the film, composed by 1a:
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14a Patient‘s departed (8)
RESIGNED: double definition. It’s worrying when you see a message saying that a top player from your favourite professional sports team has departed by this means when what the sender meant was 2-6 (i.e. put pen to a new contract).
15a Cable has sandwiches with Her Majesty (6)
HAWSER: ‘has’ contains the abbreviation for ‘with’ and Her Majesty’s cipher brings up the rear.
17a Wrong receptacle leaking hydrogen (6)
ASTRAY: the sort of receptacle no longer needed in pubs (thank goodness!) without the chemical symbol for hydrogen.
19a Never caressed? Never mind! (3,5)
LET ALONE: this phrase could mean ‘never having been caressed (or pestered, for example)’.
21a Corrupted disk? Bring the head in from Google (London area)! (13)
KNIGHTSBRIDGE: an anagram (corrupted) of DISK BRING THE containing the top (head) letter from G(oogle). The answer is a name of one of 1a’s marches (from his London Suite).
24a They might turn round wearing green, taking heart from 20 (9)
INVERTERS: ‘wearing green’ (2,4) followed by the central letters of the answer to 20d. It seems to me that ‘up’ rather than ’round’ would improve both the definition and the surface.
25a Mike entertains me informally, giving works by 1 Across, perhaps? (5)
MUSIC: a different abbreviation for microphone contains a word favoured by some people (including users of the ‘royal we’) to mean ‘me’.
26a Terribly fearsome, reviewed from afar, but calm (4)
EASE: an anagram (terribly) of [F]EA[r]S[om]E as seen once the letters of ‘from’ have been removed. I’m confused by this one – if we remove ‘from’ from fearsome we’re left with the answer without needing an anagram. Am I missing something?
27a Maybe 10 and 11 in side learnt painfully? (4-6)
TAIL-ENDERS: here’s the obligatory crickety clue. It’s an anagram (painfully) of SIDE LEARNT.
1d Terrorist occasionally makes mistakes (4)
ERRS: select just the even letters.
2d The setter’s favourite American drive (7)
IMPETUS: string together the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ as he might say it, a synonym for favourite and an abbreviation for American.
3d Hog! 9 cars he wrecked, avoiding small person leading us a merry dance! (13)
CHOREOGRAPHER: make an anagram (wrecked) of HOG CARS HE and the answer to 9a without the abbreviation for small.
4d Creature needs to eat, missing nothing, coming in terribly near (8)
ANTEATER: insert ‘to eat’ without the letter resembling zero into an anagram (terribly, for the second time) of NEAR.
5d From one’s shelf for ‘Humour’: ‘Back Around Ten’ (2,3)
EX LIB: reverse a humour (as ascribed to the human body by the ancient Greeks) and insert the Roman numeral for ten.
7d Staff with overweight types when Penny leaves (7)
WORKERS: start with the abbreviation (again) of ‘with’ and add a derogatory term for overweight people without the abbreviation for a penny. 1a composed a march called “Calling all *******” which was the title song of the long-running radio programme “Music while you work”.
8d Comfortable situation that could go downhill? (4,6)
EASY STREET: this could describe a road on which a cyclist (for example) doesn’t need to use too much energy.
11d 25 from which I’ll drop a beat, initially delighting old chap in former Middle Eastern state (6,3,4)
MUSCAT AND OMAN: to get the name of this cobbled-together old state take a deep breath and assemble the answer to 25a without its ‘I’, A, a verb to beat, the initial letter of delighting, the abbreviation for old and a synonym for chap.
13d Money fine, arranged to purchase grand slicer (5,5)
BREAD KNIFE: start with an informal word for money and add an anagram (arranged) of FINE including an abbreviation for grand (thousand pounds).
16d Rip’s involved in veritable eye for an eye … (8)
REPRISAL: insert an anagram (involved) of RIP’S into an adjective meaning veritable or authentic.
18d … steals the article mentioned about first lady (7)
THIEVES: a pronoun identifying an article previously mentioned contains the name of the Biblical first lady.
20d Manage to put poem into Old English (7)
OVERSEE: put another word for a poem into the abbreviation for Old English.
22d Some Patagonian eisteddfod participants put up in walled city (5)
SIENA: hidden in reverse.
23d They only receive single tokens in a pack (4)
ACES: Cryptic definition of the four members of a pack which have but a single token or symbol printed on them.
My favourite clue (for the picture it evokes of the aged LibDem leader enjoying a picnic with Her Majesty) is 15a. Do let us know which clue(s) pleased you?